Romelu Lukaku Appears to Deny Reported 'Dramatic Bust-Up' with Paul Pogba

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2019

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 02: Romelu Lukaku of Manchester United celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton FC at Old Trafford on March 02, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku appears to have hit out at reports of a row between himself and team-mate Paul Pogba.

Pogba missed a late penalty in United's 3-2 win over Southampton on Saturday, having taken it despite Lukaku being on a hat-trick.

The Sun's Neil Custis and Richard Moriarty reported on Monday that Pogba taking the penalty prompted a "dramatic bust-up" between the pair that required the intervention of caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

It seems the pair have not fallen out over the incident, though, based on a tweet from Lukaku on Tuesday:

The Guardian relayed a video of Lukaku from OTRO, in which the striker hit out at some sections of the media regarding their treatment of him:

Custis and Moriarty cited a source at the club who said the players had a "stern conversation and Romelu was clearly not happy about what Pogba had done."

After Andreas Pereira's stunner cancelled out Yan Valery's opener, Lukaku struck two well-taken goals either side of a James Ward-Prowse free-kick to earn his side the three points.

United had the chance to add a fourth goal in added time when Marcus Rashford went down in the box under Stuart Armstrong's challenge, but Pogba saw his spot-kick saved by Angus Gunn.

James Robson of the Evening Standard felt Lukaku had been eager to take it himself, while Bleacher Report's Rob Blanchette thought Pogba should have let him:

It's natural the Belgian may have wanted to take it to potentially grab his first hat-trick for the Red Devils.

He did not appear to hold a grudge against his team-mate—who is United's designated penalty taker—after the match, however.

According to HLN's Kristof Terreur, Lukaku said in his post-match interview: "I am a striker, and I wanted Paul Pogba to score the penalty. He has been on a good run, but he has been an important player for us."

The penalty was Pogba's ninth of the season in all competitions, and his third miss. His first came in September, when Lukaku was also on a hat-trick in a 2-0 win against Burnley.

Overall, he has taken 12 penalties in first-team football and scored eight. While his 66 per cent conversion rate isn't bad, United would want their first-choice taker to have a better record.

Lukaku's career conversion rate is only marginally better, as he's scored 11 penalties from 15 attempts.

Though it seems the Red Devils squad remains harmonious despite the reports, Pogba may want to let Lukaku take a spot-kick if he has another chance to bag a hat-trick.

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